A Romantic Thriller
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“…makes you hold your breath as it unfolds!” — Long & Short Reviews
EXCERPT FROM DEAD AGAIN
COPYRIGHT © TRACY COOPER-POSEY 2012
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Even though Jack’s condition didn’t change for the rest of the day, that night Sophie found her sleep disturbed by dreams of being left alone on the ledge to die a slow death by starvation and exposure.
Her uneasiness must have seeped through her sleep as chatter, or perhaps she wasn’t keeping as serene an expression as she thought, for the next morning over their breakfast of coffee and dry cake, Jack said, “You’re worrying too much, Sophie. I haven’t keeled over yet and it’s been seventy-two hours, now.”
A little of her dread lifted after that.
Besides, it was such a beautiful day that just looking at it left her genuinely speechless with delight.
The sun was out in full, with a cloudless sky dancing attendance. No fog or low cloud cover inhibited her view of the mountains that guarded her nights. She studied them, trying to absorb their scale, the sheer size of them. They reached up high into the sky. The perfect light made them seem a lot closer, a wonderful illusion that kept drawing her eyes.
These mountains had stood so while time passed them by. The little drama playing out at their knees would have no impact on them.
She shivered. The study left her feeling small and insignificant.
“Jack, why are the mountains over there sheer and rocky? They’ve hardly got any trees until much lower down—it’s all vertical walls.” Walls that had been built at a crazy angle, the parallel lines of seamed rock that should have been horizontal were tilted anywhere between forty and fifty degrees, running down into the tree line below.
But the mountain they were on was a giant’s weedy playing field, grassed over and scattered with trees and tilted at an angle that would have had the giant’s marbles rolling furiously down to the valley floor.
Jack looked up from the rope he was braiding out of strips of foraged cloth. “You’ve never been in the mountains before, have you?”
“I kept meaning to go but just never got around to it. There was always something better to do.” Like working. The need to push ahead, score political points and maybe get herself noticed by the partners had always pushed the idea of clearing her vacation time far down the list of priorities. Besides, a trip to the mountains was out of her financial reach. “I saw the San Gabriels once, on a clear day.”
“Angelinos….” Jack muttered, shaking his head ruefully.
“What?” she demanded. “So I’m from Los Angeles. So sue me.”
But Jack was laughing. “And I suppose Colorado is a flyover state, so far as you’re concerned.”
The laugh got her. She grinned. “Until now,” she agreed. “Is that where we are? Colorado?”
“I’m pretty sure. North, though. North of Boulder, even Loveland.”
They had been flying from Las Vegas to St. Louis, the second hop of a three-leg journey that would have eventually got her into New York. It had been the only tickets she could get without going standby. As Donald, her stickler of a boss, wouldn’t have tolerated delay if she’d been forced to wait for another flight, she’d picked the sure thing. New York by Thursday, lunchtime.
“Northern Colorado…that’s pretty far north of where we should have passed over, right?”
“It’s off the direct line if you’re looking at a map but the pilots would have been flying the great curve. It’s definitely north of where we should be, though,” he agreed. “I think the pilots wanted to get out of commercial air space to start. Out of the corridor. Then they were too busy just trying to put her down as gently as possible.”
“Why get out of commercial air space? Surely that’s where they’d look?”
He was frowning, the inward stare she’d come to know. This was impinging on those areas he’d declared off-limits. But this time she got an answer of sorts and wished she hadn’t.
“I think the radio was one of the first victims of the…accident. They couldn’t send a mayday. Maybe they couldn’t hold altitude. No, I know they couldn’t, or we wouldn’t be here. You can’t allow yourself to drift into other lanes. You’d be putting other aircraft at risk. So if you can’t hold your lane, then you have to get out—way out. Which they did.”
His terse answer opened a small door of illumination upon the endless minutes of noise and fear she’d lived through that night, clutching the arms of her chair and waiting for the long fall to the ground. The pilots, whoever they were, must have fought the plane every foot of the way to its resting place.
“They deserve a medal,” she said.
Jack was quiet for a long minute. “More,” he said, his voice rough. “They deserve to have their life back. I wish I had the power to give it to them. I really do.” Abruptly he stood and thrust his hands into his pockets. “Gotta go.” He headed for the gully and the wire rope that let him climb to the top.
She listened to his ascent, turning over the puzzling note of distress in his voice.
“When you run the gamut of emotions while reading a book (including tears at one point),
you know it’s good.” — Paula, Goodreads
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First published as Silent Knight..
“will haunt you and linger in your thoughts!” — Siren Book Reviews